Page 1


Revealing Our Remarkable Culture



> Engaged Learning Revealing a Remarkable Culture for Learning........................................................................ 4 Teaching for Artistic Behavior.................................................................................................... 7 Learning to Give and Giving to Learn: Middle School Service Learning ......................10


Cannon Magazine is published semiannually by the Office of Advancement. Send address changes to

EDITORIAL STAFF EDITOR Beth Levanti Director of Marketing and Communications

Library Renovation ....................................................................................................................12 Our Beloved Bibliophiles...........................................................................................................13 Commencing the Next Step .....................................................................................................14 Buddies from Beginning to End...............................................................................................16 From Cannon to College...........................................................................................................17

> The Big Picture

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Amy Reiss Marketing and Communications Manager

View from Our Window ..........................................................................................................18

CONTRIBUTORS Lynda Abel, Marcia Brashear, Bethany Campbell, Bill Diskin, David Ibsen, Matt Gossage, Erin Kidd, Mark Kmidowski, Beth Levanti, Jaimee Mendrinos, Amy Reiss, and Kate Weinstock

Boys’ Golf Claims Second Straight State Title......................................................................20


> Athletics New Wrestling Program Goes to the Mat..............................................................................21

> Community Courageous Conversations........................................................................................................22 Foundations for the Future: The Peer Support Team Sets a Path......................................23 Hannah Wheeler is Cheering on Kids with Special Needs................................................24 Angel in the Outfield..................................................................................................................25 Feeding Our Natural Curiosity.................................................................................................26 Our Driving Force.......................................................................................................................28 Welcome, New Families.............................................................................................................29 Thank You, Corporate Partners................................................................................................29

> Alumni Alumni Spotlight: Meredith Frazier ’09 ................................................................................30 Class Notes....................................................................................................................................31 Freshman Feats.............................................................................................................................33 Alumni Events Photos................................................................................................................34


COVER: Lower School students taking time to laugh and learn on the Bryant Central Green. Photo courtesy of Andrew Niesen and Rachael LaCour Niesen.


Cannon Magazine also thanks Emby Taylor Photography for capturing images of the Cannon School community in action throughout the school year.


> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > 2 | SUMMER 2016 | CANNON MAGAZINE

In This Issue

Letter from the Head of School < < < < < < < < < < < < “The essence of Cannon is found in the day-to-day accounts of people committed to helping others grow.”

Dear Cannon Families, During my junior year in high school in one of the first essays I wrote for her, Mrs. Scott made it clear to me the distinct difference between “asserting” and “demonstrating.” I could assert that Reverend Dimmesdale was actually more despicable than Roger Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter, but that assertion meant nothing in the world of true literary analysis (or Mrs. Scott’s gradebook) without an effort to show or demonstrate how I reached that conclusion. What is in the text that builds a case for my claim of most despicable? How do I show instead of just tell? What I love most about this edition of Cannon Magazine is that we have chosen to show, to demonstrate, and to reveal what the culture of Cannon is. The essence of Cannon is found in the day-to-day accounts of people committed to helping others grow. And this summer report shows in print and picture the authenticity of this daily interaction at our school. I encourage you to read about the ways we embrace the new in the inclusion of new families and in the innovation needed to start a new wrestling program, to begin a new approach to teaching the visual arts, and to transform the present Lower School Library into something amazing for students. There are genuine examples of care in the stories featuring our bus drivers, our students doing something significant for those in the world right around us, and our entire community rallying around a call to become better stewards of our natural resources. And there are wonderful accounts of teachers and coaches engaging students in learning that are truly life changing. Please enjoy your final days of summer. Carry this magazine with you as you travel or slow down and dwell on how we demonstrate daily what is special about Cannon.

Matthew E. Gossage, Head of School



Revealing a Remarkable Culture for Learning Cannon’s recent institutional identity study highlights inclusivity, intentionality, and innovation as attributes that distinguish our school community. By: Bill Diskin, Director of Admission and Financial Aid Essential Questions Director of Advancement, Mr. Todd Hartung, and I remember when the idea of doing Cannon School’s current institutional identity study first surfaced. “It was actually a few years ago when we both went to the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) conference in Philadelphia,” Mr. Hartung recalled. “At these conferences, we get a chance to pull up, listen to what’s going on at independent schools around the country, and take a more global view of things.” That conference experience offered us the opportunity to realize that while Cannon School is in a good position in terms of enrollment and momentum—that is precisely the best time to take a close look at what is working and why. “We want to be the best at what we do,” Mr. Hartung said. “And that requires making sure we are always moving forward and not resting on past success.” 4 | SUMMER 2016 | CANNON MAGAZINE

After returning from the conference in Philadelphia, Mr. Hartung’s Advancement team, along with members of the Admission team, met with Head of School Mr. Matt Gossage to discuss the idea of working with a consultant to identify Cannon’s strengths in engaging current families and how to best communicate those strengths beyond our campus. “The prospect of having an outside voice offer an objective and data-driven assessment of where we are as a school is appealing,” Mr. Hartung said. “Especially given all the school options that are available to families in Charlotte at this point.” With the support of Mr. Gossage, Cannon’s Board of Trustees, and the Administrative team, Cannon School connected with a well-respected independent school consultant, Ian Symmonds & Associates, and launched the first stage of the identity study in the spring of 2015. Through a series of surveys, phone interviews, and a campus visit, Mr. Ian Symmonds and his team studied Cannon School inside and

Some of the questions Mr. Symmonds and his team explored include: •  Why did current families choose Cannon? Why do they stay? •  What do prospective families know about Cannon School? •  Are our messages resonating with prospective families? •  Are we engaging properly with the marketplace? Research and Recommendations Even from his preliminary interactions with Cannon, Mr. Symmonds gathered insight about our school community. “At the outset of our work together, we knew Cannon was a special organization,” Mr. Symmonds wrote. “The mindfulness, intentionality, and focus of the staff and team with which we worked provided us a unique glimpse into the school culture.” Cannon School’s culture, as it turns out, is something to which Mr. Symmonds would keep coming back. In the fall of 2015, Mr. Symmonds came to campus and met with students, faculty, parents, and trustees. Based on those meetings—and on his phone conversations with parents of recent applicants who had been offered enrollment, but chose not to enroll at Cannon—Mr. Symmonds gathered a great deal of data about what distinguishes Cannon from other schools. “We don’t believe we have worked with a school culture quite as remarkable as Cannon,” Mr. Symmonds wrote. “The school has crafted a distinct culture for learning that reflects an unmatched intentionality for doing the little things, as well as getting the big picture, that is simply unique. An example of this thoughtfulness is the school walls, decorum, and signage reflected throughout the campus. The school deeply reflects an intentionality that we rarely see among Cannon School’s counterparts across the nation.” Ian Symmonds & Associates shared their findings and recommendations in December 2015, and Mr. Gossage reported highlights of these recommendations throughout the winter and spring. Mainly, Mr. Symmonds identified Cannon School’s culture as a strength that should form the foundation of the school’s marketing and messaging efforts. “Culture is everything at Cannon,” Mr. Symmonds wrote. “It is culture that separates Cannon from a sea of other independent schools in the Charlotte area. For this reason, we believe that the school must first position itself on culture.” Mr. Symmonds and his team went on to suggest, “From our vantage point, Cannon School possesses a unique blend of three cultural brand attributes under this umbrella brand position: inclusivity, intentionality, and innovation. We believe that these three brand attributes must form the messaging pillars for the future.” Bringing Our Stories to Life Bringing Mr. Symmonds’ recommendations to life means engaging with a creative partner who can translate his ideas into compelling stories and images for videos, the web, social media, and advertising. CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2016 | 5

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

Engaged Learning

out—noting its strengths, while also identifying areas that could benefit from some attention. Mr. Symmonds’ work focused on a variety of areas related to Cannon School’s operation, including an emphasis on perceptions of Cannon School in the Charlotte region.

After an exhaustive search and request for proposals process that led Cannon’s enrollment marketing team to review the portfolios of established local and national agencies, the school ultimately selected Whipp, based in Spartanburg, South Carolina, as its new creative partner. Whipp, pleased to be partnering with Cannon School, sees the opportunity to move the school’s promotional efforts to a whole new level. “We’re excited to be working with Cannon School,” said Mr. Chris Brantly, Partner at Whipp. “This is a school that has so many great stories to tell—and we are eager to share every one! The work the school has already completed with Ian Symmonds puts us all in a great positon to set up a messaging plan that celebrates all the components of Cannon School’s culture.” Whipp wasted no time connecting with Cannon’s students, parents, and faculty. In April and May, Whipp’s creative team brought photography and videography crews to campus—capturing interviews and images for new videos, web features, social media campaigns, and a variety of other marketing materials. “We happened to be on campus for the yearbook dedication ceremony,” said Ms. Stephanie Denchak, Senior Content Director at Whipp. “That’s every student and adult in the school packed into the gym for what amounts to an end of the year celebration. Talk about an opportunity to witness Cannon School’s culture in action. You could feel the love and respect in the air that morning. That was just an amazing experience to see.” The Whipp team is busy preparing to implement the first phase of Cannon’s updated enrollment marketing and messaging program. And, as Associate Director of Admission Mrs. Kate Weinstock explains, Cannon’s enhanced marketing plan will be in place when the new admission season kicks off in September. “This process has really given us an opportunity to look closely at how we share the great things that are happening at Cannon with the broader community,” said Mrs. Weinstock. “Beyond the usual new print ads and updated photography, we will be revealing Cannon School’s story using web-based video, engaging social media techniques, and online student and parent testimonials in ways we haven’t in the past. We are excited to be in a position to tap into our digital resources to connect with prospective parents.” So, with the first phase of implementation ready to roll out this fall, Cannon School has reached a place that we initially imagined during that conference in Philadelphia. But this does not mean the project is almost over. “No, this is by no means an ending,” Mr. Hartung said. “Getting this kind of information and data about our school has been helpful. It informs our decisions and helps us understand next steps. But like any organization, Cannon School is always evolving—always moving forward. We’ll keep looking at who we are and making sure we are telling all the great stories we have to tell.”


Mr. Nate Rogers, Upper School Art Department Chair and JrK-12 Visual Arts Curriculum Lead, and Austin Morris ’18

Teaching for Artistic Behavior A new approach to the visual arts gives students the freedom to take ownership of their learning. It Started with the Apple We have all enjoyed or suffered through—depending on your perspective—painting the perfect still life in elementary school. At best, we were focused on using new brush strokes or choosing the most vibrant colors to reproduce that apple. At worst, we were too busy comparing our work to our neighbor’s to learn much at all. And to be sure, we were all just responding to our teacher’s decision on subject matter instead of figuring out how to create something that was a communication of ourselves. As it turns out, there is another way. Teaching for Artistic Behavior Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) is a nationally recognized approach to art education that gives students the opportunity to work more authentically as artists, making choices about their work in collaboration with teachers who are responsive to their ideas. This approach gives students the freedom to make choices about what they want to create, what they want to talk about in their work, and what medium to use—all with the goal of taking ownership of their learning.

And for the past two years, under the leadership of Mr. Nate Rogers, Upper School Art Department Chair and JrK-12 Visual Arts Curriculum Lead, and Ms. Krista Johns, Lower School Art Teacher, Cannon School has piloted a TAB-based program for the visual arts. Mr. Rogers has incorporated TAB into his Visual Foundations and Studio Arts I and II classes, and Ms. Johns has introduced her students in first through fourth grades to TAB. Based on their success, all visual arts classes in all divisions at Cannon School will be choice-based starting in the 2016-2017 school year. The Scaffolding Surrounding Autonomy But what exactly does “choice-based” mean? Mr. Rogers smiled as he began to explain, “It sounds like utter chaos, right? It sounds like we’re saying we just let students do whatever they want. But really, it’s not that. It’s very structured—there is scaffolding that surrounds the autonomy.” “When I piloted the program, I found that I needed more structure and more robust rubrics,” Mr. Rogers continued. “Before, I was giving them all the structure through the narrow assignment. What’s changed CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2016 | 7


is their projects have opened up. We have curricular goals and skills I want the students to master. Now I’ll teach them skills, give them goals, and say, ‘You pick from the mediums you’ve learned. Here are the things I want you exploring.’ They’ll determine how they show me their learning. It might be part of their sketchbook, a small project, or a big project incorporating a number of smaller components. Then it’s just problem solving—I can see where they need more scaffolding, more support, more instruction. This allows for really deep, rich conversation and exploration for the students.”

behind it. And you might not know that if you just look at the artwork. But then, when you hear the reason why they created this piece of work—it takes it to another level. But if you don’t have that conversation, you might never know, because they are 7 or 8 years old. But they know what matters to them, and I think it’s important we listen to what they have to say.”

And that deep exploration is not confined to Upper School students. Ms. Johns explained, “My third and fourth graders are planning their own projects based on things that matter to them, memories they have, what they’re interested in. On any given day, there will be kids working in sculpture, collage, painting, and drawing. What I’ve really found is it allows them to take more risks because they aren’t comparing what they’re doing to someone else because everyone is working on something different. It’s 100 percent the authentic work of each individual child.”

Jordan Besh ’18 began by describing how she has taken a very personal approach to her subject matter by depicting surgeries she has experienced in a series of mixed media drawings. “Well, I guess my health issues in the past, they have truly made me who I am today. They’ve affected my tennis. They’ve affected school, and I’ve learned a lot from recovering from those. Getting to express that and bring awareness to who you are is really cool.”

Beyond the Classroom “This comes down to the root of why we teach,” Mr. Rogers went on to share. “Those skills in planning and problem solving serve students well beyond the art room—they are life skills that prepare students for success in all future endeavors. No matter what our students go on to do in any field or industry, they will have projects to execute or tasks to complete and will need to figure out what they need to know, what they need to do, and how they need to do it.”

Listening to What They Say

Listening is always time well spent.

We agreed with Ms. Johns and interviewed a group of sophomores in Mr. Rogers’ class. They had a lot to say about the new approach.

Austin Morris ’18, on the other hand, has worked on depicting an otherworldly paracosm in several large-scale ink drawings. “It’s made it a lot more fun because Mr. Rogers guides, but it’s not really set in stone. That’s really helped me. Mr. Rogers is very flexible with the schedule, because my bigger pieces take months to complete. I would never have done something to the scale I’m doing now if he didn’t let us choose. We get great work done, but it’s not oppressive, so to speak.”

Ms. Johns took it a step further, “I hope that when kids bring their artworks home, they have conversations with their parents. When I’m talking to the kids, every piece has a story

Abby Muraca ’18 shared how her artwork has made her think more openly and how art is almost a therapeutic time of day. “I got to test out what I wanted to do. I found a theme with my work and stuck with it. It’s a comic series working with people’s inner emotions that they’re afraid to share. It’s just kind of personal experiences sometimes, like dealing with friends and family, and so I can kind of put it in a different way through art.” She continued, “Art is definitely a period of the day I look forward to. This is a judgment-free zone. And I feel really close to the people in my art class. I just love the environment.”

The artworks on the previous page were created by (clockwise from top): Austin Morris ’18, Grace Hurtado ’24, Jordan Besh ’18, Isabella Hartung ’24, Abby Muraca ’18, and Ross Bertram ’18.

And Ross Bertram ’18 took our thoughts in as many directions as he takes his art. “Mr. Rogers always tells me I have a really technical eye. I can see things in a lot of different ways, and that’s kind of what my art focuses on. I cater to lines and structure rather than form and softer things. The freedom he gives us really helps me because I don’t like to stick

“It’s a really dynamic environment,” he continued. “Each student has something they want to explore. They’re showing me work I would have never seen before, because it’s so personal. And that’s what’s so exciting.”

on one thing. I like to use marker and paint and draw with pencil, pen, and whatnot.” He continued, “In other classes, it’s helped me a lot too, just to see things in different ways or help me approach a problem differently. It’s also helped me kind of slow down my thinking and think before I finish a problem, or think before I speak—stuff like that.”

Ms. Krista Johns, Lower School Art Teacher

“I hope that when kids bring their artworks home, they have conversations with their parents. When I’m talking to the kids, every piece has a story behind it.”


Learning to Give

and Giving to Learn: Middle School Service Learning Ava Cooksey ’20 leans over a row of plants at the Share the Harvest Community Garden, measuring to install a drip irrigation system. Behind her, a group of students pound poles into rows of tomato plants, providing a support structure for the twisting vines. Others are filling dirt into the irrigation line and planting eggplants. As members of the Healthy Lives and Healthy Choices team of the Middle School Service Learning Program, these seventh- and eighth-grade students are creating a meaningful connection with Mother Earth and understanding firsthand what sustainable farming looks like. They are also helping members of their community since harvests from this garden put fresh produce into the hands of people who would otherwise have trouble accessing healthy foods. So what exactly is service learning? It is definitely more than just “volunteering.” Service learning is defined as teaching and learning which integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities (Learn and Serve America National Service Learning Clearinghouse). It is a research-based teaching 10 | SUMMER 2016 | CANNON MAGAZINE

method that addresses a community need in a process which allows for student initiative, structured time for reflection, and demonstration of acquired skills and knowledge. “Kids are best motivated when engaged in real-life, meaningful actions. When they understand how communities can work together, they will become lifelong contributors,” said Mrs. Stephanie Ranson, Middle School Service Learning Coordinator. The 2015-2016 school year marked an auspicious start for the Middle School Service Learning Program, and every child in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade participated. They began the year by choosing a service learning group: Education, Literacy, and the Arts; Social Justice and Equality; Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty; The Environment; Healthy Lives and Healthy Choices; Animal Protection and Welfare; and Special Needs and Disabilities. Groups met to explore, research, and discuss their topic, and then identify a need which arose from their brainstorming. Next, they came up with possible solutions, and then created an action plan. Action plans did not necessarily have to be fundraising options, but could instead be a volunteer opportunity, a letter-writing campaign, or the collection and distribution of supplies. After presenting action plans came a time of reflection, requesting feedback from partners, experts, and community members. It was at this time that many groups faced their first setbacks—not surprising, as anyone who has tried to address an issue will tell you. For example, the Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty group had a great idea to help with a Habitat for Humanity build, and then learned volunteers must be at least 16 years old in order to work on site. The Animal Protection and Welfare group thought they were rolling with a plan to build bat houses when Mr. Brandon Powers, Lower School Science Lab Teacher,

mentioned that it was extremely difficult to place these structures and get the animals to use them. By running into problems, groups often had to rethink their strategy and sometimes, completely change direction. In the end, groups settled on meaningful processes for dealing with issues. The fifth- and sixth-grade Environment group discovered during a Skype conversation with the Arbor Day Foundation that trees were being cut at an alarming rate in our area due to construction and development. They decided to plant trees, but first had to research the ideal conditions for planting and act accordingly. When the fifth- and sixth-grade Hunger, Homelessness, and Poverty group learned that one in six people has experienced either hunger, homelessness, or poverty, they took a trip to a shelter set up by the Cooperative Christian Ministry to experience their situation firsthand. A member of the Cooperative Christian Ministry suggested the group create a themed basket that could be auctioned off to benefit the charity. The Special Needs and Disabilities group worked to determine how they could best serve the athletes at the Cabarrus County Special Olympics and then chose fifteen activities that would be most helpful for them. In addition to gathering materials and organizing stations, they spent the day at the Special Olympics along with our sixth- and eighth-grade students, helping and cheering them on. “We all just want to be cheered on from time to time,” said Olivia Varghese ’22. “I really enjoyed participating in the Special Olympics because I got to see how all the hard work and time we put into the event made so many people smile.” The program’s first year was an incredible success, and students are already looking forward to what 2016-2017 will bring. “Through service, we want to give our students a chance to shine and be leaders, follow their passion, and spread their light,” said Mrs. Ranson.


Rendering of Lower School Library

Library Renovation Cannon’s Lower School Library is undergoing renovations that will be completed for the 20162017 school year. Head of Lower School Mrs. Michelle Alexander shares, “The Lower School Library is a place where students develop a passion for reading, cultivate literacy skills, hone research skills, and gather together. We’re in a time when the traditional library has morphed into a collaborative, creative, and energetic space—very unlike the libraries in which most of us grew up where you were scolded for making a sound. Libraries are becoming hubs of activity where books, media, and technology are merging.”

Lower School Library under construction Cannon’s new library space will be flexible enough to accommodate multiple groups of children at once and include a production room, nooks for reading, a makerspace area, and a sun porch. Director of Advancement Mr. Todd Hartung says, “We’re excited this important project was made possible thanks to budgeted funds, a grant award, and generous support from all four of our Parents at Cannon (PAC) groups. We can’t wait to watch how our students will utilize this updated space in new ways.”

Lower School Library under construction 12 | SUMMER 2016 | CANNON MAGAZINE

Rendering of Lower School Library

Our Beloved Bibliophiles Our school community is also thankful for our dynamic librarians who bring our libraries to life. We thought you might enjoy learning about books that have inspired Cannon’s most beloved bibliophiles and their reading recommendations for students. Happy reading! Mr. Mark Kmidowski, Upper School Librarian

Ms. Bethany Campbell, Middle School Librarian My favorite book: The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling started coming out when I was in lower school, so I grew up with them. It was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that sparked my love of reading. I used to have countdowns to the book release dates and would wait in line at the midnight book launches so I could start reading the new one as soon as it came out. I loved getting lost in the magical world of Hogwarts—the moving staircases, the cool classes like Potions and Divinations, and all of the adventures Harry and his friends had. I have read and reread the series too many times to count—and it’s fantastic every time! Book I recommend to my students: Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This book is about a fifth grader named Auggie who is going to school for the first time. He was previously being homeschooled due to health issues that have caused him to have a facial abnormality. The book starts off with Auggie as the narrator as he begins middle school and experiences many reactions to his facial differences. Throughout the book, the narration switches to other points of view (such as his sister and different classmates), so readers experience many perspectives on Auggie’s first year at Beecher Prep. Wonder’s message of acceptance, compassion, and kindness is something that everyone (middle schoolers and adults alike) will appreciate!

My favorite book: Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck. In high school, I read everything by John Steinbeck. If I had to select one title from Steinbeck, it would be this one. In a custom-built camper named Rocinante after Don Quixote’s horse, Steinbeck and Charley travel over 10,000 miles and experience life on the back roads of America. The two witness firsthand the beginnings of suburban sprawl, the fading of regional culture, and the harsh reality of the segregated South. Despite these realities, the two discovered that the kindness of strangers continues to exist. I think this work is as relevant today as when it was published in 1962. Book I recommend to my students: Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives by David Levy. I am writing this book recommendation on a laptop with internet access. Next to me is my smartphone with three messages waiting for me. It is safe to say that we are bombarded with technology that helps us in our daily lives, informs us, and entertains us. Our lives are better for technology. However, sometimes too much of a good thing can be harmful to us. This book discusses the effects of information overload, the impact on our attention span, and the stress caused by the fear of “missing” something online. Levy also provides a number of suggestions on how to lessen our need to always be connected and ways to use technology appropriately. Ms. Jaimee Mendrinos, Lower School Librarian My favorite book: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This is an exciting action adventure set in the future. A computer genius created a virtual reality and hid clues—or Easter Eggs as the gaming world would call it. The one who finds all of the Easter Eggs will inherit the entire virtual reality system. I love this book because it is fast-paced and includes a lot of 80’s references. Who doesn’t love the 80’s? Steven Spielberg is even directing the movie set to come out in 2018! I can’t wait. Book I recommend to my students: Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein. This is a cute story about a father chicken and a little chicken. Chicken loves bedtime stories but sometimes gets so excited he interrupts the story before it’s over. There are a lot of silly things happening that will make children and adults laugh. It also has wonderful illustrations that are so detailed, it takes several readings to notice how much is actually in the picture. It’s really a great book for the whole family.




the Next Step 2


1. Fourth-Grade Commencement 2. Kindergarten Commencement 3. Twelfth-Grade Commencement 4. Eighth-Grade Commencement





5. Twelfth-Grade Commencement 6. Eighth-Grade Commencement 7. Kindergarten Commencement 7


Buddies from Beginning to End

Cannonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Junior Kindergarten/Senior Buddy program is incredibly special, pairing our youngest students with our oldest. On the first day of school, each JrK student is greeted by his or her senior buddy before even walking into the building. So begins a meaningful and heartwarming relationship, and throughout the year, buddies will have lunch together, play at recess, read books, and pair up at Project Wrap-In. At the end of the year, JrK students create signs for their buddies, wishing them well as they move into the next phase of their lives. Many buddies even keep in touch after graduation. It is a wonderful way for our JrK students to start their first chapter here at Cannon, while our seniors close their last!


From Cannon to College The eighty-five students of the Class of 2016 were accepted to more than 110 colleges and universities and were awarded $6,488,152 in merit-based scholarships.

The Class of 2016 will attend the following colleges and universities in nineteen states this fall: American University

Ohio State University

Appalachian State University

Rice University

Auburn University

Savannah College of Art and Design

Babson College

Stetson University

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Syracuse University

Clemson University College of Charleston Duke University East Carolina University Elon University Emory & Henry College Furman University George Mason University Georgetown University Greensboro College Guilford College Hampden-Sydney College Hampton University Landmark College Mars Hill University Marshall University New School - Parsons School of Design

University of Alabama University of Arizona University of California, Berkeley University of California, Los Angeles University of Florida University of Georgia University of Maryland, College Park University of Michigan University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of North Carolina at Charlotte University of North Carolina at Wilmington University of South Carolina University of Southern California University of Tennessee, Knoxville Wake Forest University Washington and Lee University Wheaton College

North Carolina State University CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2016 | 17

View from Our Window In a world where we spend so much time looking at screens, there is something inspiring about looking at the reality outside our window. This view from the Cannon Performing Arts Center is much like the Cannon community itselfâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;bright, uplifting, and reflective.


> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >


The Big Picture

Boys’ Golf Claims Second Straight State Title Team wins by twenty-one strokes On May 17, the Cannon School boys’ golf team won its second straight North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association state title. They beat runner-up Christ School by twenty-one strokes, posting a 5-over par team score of 573 for the two-day event. “I’ve never seen them more relaxed than when they were at the State Championship,” said Head Coach Pat Whisenant. “This is a team of kids who have the attitude of winners, who are confident, and who are dedicated to the game. They make me look really good!” he joked. Michael Sanders ’18 was named medalist, with a score of 136. He and Michael Childress ’18 were among five total players who earned All-State honors. Lansdon Robbins ’18, Michael Baker ’17, and Braxton Tracy ’18 all finished in the top eleven for individual scores. Coach Whisenant says the team has set a lofty goal for next year—to go undefeated. This year, they dropped three matches throughout the season, coming in second place twice and third place once. “But these guys were able to come back from defeat, learn that they had to finish their game, and prove themselves,” he said. The boys not only won the State Championship, but also the prestigious Southern Cross Invitational and Irish Creek Invitational. With no seniors on the team this past season, Cannon boys’ golf looks ahead to a bright 2016-2017. Michael Sanders ’18, Charlotte Observer Boys’ Golfer of the Year

Michael Sanders ’18 was named the 2016 Charlotte Observer Boys’ Golfer of the Year. In addition, Coach Pat Whisenant shared the 2016 Charlotte Observer Boys’ Golf Coach of the Year honors with Forestview’s Dan Ghent. Michael Sanders was named to the Observer’s first team, along with Tim Bunten ’17. Lansdon Robbins ’18, Michael Baker ’17, and Michael Childress ’18 were all named to the Observer’s second team. Cannon’s Championship Boys’ Golf Team. From l-r: Head Coach Pat Whisenant, Lansdon Robbins ’18, Tim Bunten ’17, Michael Childress ’18, Michael Sanders ’18, Michael Baker ’17, Braxton Tracy ’18, Jakob Diskin ’17, Ben Diskin ’19, Tommy Jones ’19, and Harry McKay ’17



New Wrestling Program Goes to the Mat

Cannon School introduces new varsity and Middle School programs. Cannon School kicked off its inaugural wrestling season in November with twenty students involved in the Upper and Middle School programs. The new program was a huge success, and the future looks promising for when the athletes take the mat again this winter. We chatted with Mr. Michael Helfant, Varsity Head Coach, about his reflections on the first year. What do you think was the most successful aspect of the first year of the program? The most successful aspect was building a foundation with kids who had a willingness to work hard as a team and treat each other as a family. For a group who had never wrestled before, our kids really bought in and got to work each and every day at practice. We were also able to build relationships across our entire program. Our Upper School athletes looked out for our Middle School kids, and everyone took care of each other throughout the season.

night. Each of them won their matches, some in overtime, and we were able to keep them in the tournament the next day. As a team, we finished tenth in the state and had six wrestlers finish in the top six different weight classes. What are you most looking forward to next year? I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wait for next year. I really love the kids we have, and it will be great to be able to practice and improve with a year of experience under our belt. These kids are better than they think, and if they stay consistent in their work ethic, they have the potential to have a lot of success. Also, our Middle and Upper School numbers are continuing to grow, and more and more of our kids are really starting to believe that they can win a lot of matches here at Cannon.

What can you say overall about the group who turned out to start this team? The kids who came out were tough, resilient, and willing to compete. It is hard to try something new as a high school-aged kid, but these guys decided early on to compete hard and see what happens. Was there a highlight this season that stands out in your mind? There were a lot of great things that happened this year, but I think we were most proud as a team on the first night of the state tournament. Of the nine wrestlers we entered in that tournament, six of them had the opportunity to become a state placer that Friday CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2016 | 21

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

Head Varsity Wrestling Coach Mr. Michael Helfant (left) at practice

school year—Be Unique. Be United. She produced a video that shared her personal experience and included other students, and even teachers, who rise above their own learning differences. Caroline shares, “Just the fact that we could put out a call to students and teachers with learning differences and that they would respond and participate was amazing to me.”

From l-r: Katie McClanahan ’16, Mrs. Teresita Hurtado, Upper School Learning Specialist, and Caroline Malmstrom ’16

Courageous Conversations How a teacher and her students changed the way we understand learning differences Self-Aware. Honest. Brave. Empathetic. Inspiring. Sometimes words feel inadequate when we try to describe people we admire. The adjectives above only begin to portray the dynamic trio of Mrs. Teresita Hurtado, Caroline Malmstrom ’16, and Katie McClanahan ’16, who changed the way the Cannon School community understands learning differences. It has been a journey several years in the making. As Cannon’s Upper School Learning Specialist, Mrs. Hurtado has spent four years assisting students with learning differences become successful learners and self-advocates by helping them make use of a full range of school-based and community resources. Then two years ago, Emily Malmstrom ’15, Caroline’s sister, took on an independent study with Mrs. Hurtado with the goal of creating awareness around the fact that some students learn differently and that not everything comes easily to everyone. Mrs. Hurtado explains, “Emily wanted that awareness, and she quickly empowered herself as a learner. She worked with a core group of teachers to bring speakers to campus to talk with parents about how to position their high school students with learning differences for college.” When it came time for Emily to wrap up 22 | SUMMER 2016 | CANNON MAGAZINE

her independent study with a presentation, Caroline and Katie were in the audience. Mrs. Hurtado remembers, “Emily said she really wanted to leave a legacy and see the conversation she started carried on by other students. Katie and Caroline came to me afterwards and said, ‘We want to be those people.’” From there, Mrs. Hurtado, Caroline, and Katie worked to create the girls’ senior-year schedules to make time for an independent study that would create courageous conversations around learning differences and bring about a shift of mindset among their classmates, teachers, and families. Mrs. Hurtado remembers when the girls established the goals for their independent study. “They are risk-takers in the best sense of the word—from being students with significant learning differences at a school where the rigor is so demanding, to being successful at it, to sharing their diagnoses to help others. That’s really brave.” Not only were Katie and Caroline brave, but they were imaginative, authentic, and invested whenever they shared their own struggles with ADHD to help others. As Vice President of Student Council, Caroline understood how they could weave their message into the larger theme Student Council had chosen for the 2015-2016

The next step the girls took was to bring a panel of students and teachers with learning differences to the Upper School community meeting in November. Katie shares, “We wanted to be honest without looking for sympathy. We wanted to explain how diversity should include diversity of learning, and how it fit with the theme of Be Unique. Be United. Being on stage at that meeting made me realize how far we had come and that we were making an impact.” Katie and Caroline admit to feeling anxious leading up to the community meeting. They were curious about the feedback they would receive. As it turned out, they were amazed by the positive response from their friends, classmates, and faculty. And on the heels of the community meeting, they took a panel of students to speak at an Upper School faculty meeting where they shared how it feels when you cannot keep up the pace and tips on how teachers can help. Through experiences like these, Caroline and Katie were being approached more and more by other students with diagnosed learning differences and students who simply struggled with certain skills like study habits or organization. Realizing there was a need beyond the classroom, the girls began a peer mentoring program in which they regularly met with over a dozen students. Mrs. Hurtado explains, “The empathy they showed was amazing. They gave up their drop periods in order to meet with students. And that had a significant impact. The kids realized, ‘Ok, you really mean it.’” Caroline smiles when she talks about one of her favorite mentees. “He really just needed me to listen and be his cheerleader. Mentorship was my favorite part of the whole experience.” Katie remembers a time she helped a student prioritize her agenda. “It was such a small thing, but her anxiety dropped immediately. I understood. That used to be me.” Now that’s inspiring.

Weekly meetings were used to train the team to work with others. “Encourage, lift, and strengthen one another. For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all.” –Deborah Day Teenagers have it tough: it seems like each day there is a new pressure or issue that crops up, challenging their morals and decision-making skills. So this year, Middle School Counselor Mrs. Megan Thompson and Upper School Counselor Mrs. Anne Hoffman decided to initiate a Peer Support Team to provide Middle and Upper School students the opportunity to meet with a peer and discuss issues. The program’s first year created a solid foundation, with thirteen Upper School students trained to make a difference. “As soon as I heard of this opportunity, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I know what it feels like to need and want someone to talk to, but just not sure who. I wanted to be a part of this team to be there to support and listen to my peers,” said Rose Edmondson ’17, member of pst;. (The group uses the abbreviation pst; with lowercase letters to represent confidentiality and the semicolon as a symbol of hope. John Nelson ’16 designed the logo.) Since August 2015, the Peer Support Team met every Monday to receive training in areas such as active listening, confidentiality, multicultural awareness, addiction, suicide prevention, and understanding grief. In the fall, the pst;

will work with ninth-grade and Middle School students, addressing both academic and social concerns. Issues can range from anxiety, divorce, coping with grief and loss— and everything in between. Middle School deans and Mrs. Thompson will work with the pst; to identify other issues as the year progresses. Members have learned much from their training this past year. “I have noticed my pst; skills being used in my everyday life. I am a better listener to my friends and better equipped to help others,” Rose said. Sarah Miner ’16 concurred. “I learned that every person brings a slightly different perspective on topics that help benefit the group and make it more cohesive. I learned that I have a voice that can be used to support and encourage others.” “I loved the pst; this year—the group, the activities, and the meaning behind it,” said Steven McDermott ’16. “I really enjoyed the time we had with Middle School because we were utilizing the skills we had learned throughout the year.” Mrs. Hoffman also feels the inaugural program was a success. “It has been inspiring to work with the Peer Support Team and see their compassion and commitment in learning how to help others. The main message the pst; wants to spread to other students is that they are not alone in their struggles, and there are peers on campus who care and want to help.” She looks forward to seeing what 2016-2017 will bring!

The Peer Support Team. First row from l-r: Ansley Martin ’16, Rachel Harris ’16, Zachary Olguin ’17, Morgan Batley ’17, and Rose Edmondson ’17. Second row from l-r: Sarah Dockery ’16, Julia Dunn ’17, Makenzie O’Brien ’17, and Lexi Sisko ’16. Third row from l-r: Sarah Miner ’16, Rebecca Akat ’16, Steven McDermott ’16, and Trey Fiscus ’16 Upper right: The Peer Support Team logo, designed by John Nelson ’16 CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2016 | 23


The Peer Support Team Sets a Path

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

Foundations for the Future:

Hannah Wheeler is Cheering on Kids with Special Needs Hannah Wheeler ’16 has much to look forward to—her last summer before college, spending lazy days with her friends and family, and starting school at the University of Miami. But when she packs up this fall and leaves behind North Carolina, she will have to say goodbye to her Amethyst cheer team, a squad of special needs kids and peer coaches she has spent over two years conceptualizing, organizing, and coaching. Hannah first had the idea for a team when she coached a young boy with Down syndrome. The time she spent with him was so meaningful, she decided to approach Victory! All Stars, a cheer facility in Concord where she had spent years cheering, to see if they would be on board with her coaching a team. The owners were supportive, so

Hannah tasked herself with not only creating a team, but managing to make it completely free of cost to any special needs child who wanted to participate. She solicited Primrose Schools, reached out for donations from others, and wound up raising enough money for the team. Hannah then spent the following months recruiting not only special needs children, but peer helpers who could assist with the squad. Once they had enough participants, they needed to decide on a name. All of Victory! All Stars’ teams are named after gems, and Hannah settled on Amethyst for her girls. “It’s a stone that brings protection, strength, and patience—it just seemed perfect,” she said. Amethyst is made up of seven athletes, aged 6 to19, who grapple with conditions such as autism, Down syndrome, and behavioral issues. There to assist are twelve peer helpers, making the team feel incredibly inclusive.

Hannah Wheeler ’16

Hannah admits there are challenges to coaching a team like this one, but there are also plenty of rewards. “One of my favorite moments was when our youngest member, Maggie Scurlock, finally got her forward roll. Not only was she smiling and laughing, I looked over to see her whole family cheering her on. It made me realize that it’s not just the kids who are benefiting from this—it’s the whole family.” Hannah also had a story about when one mom called her up the night before a competition and delivered some tough news—she’d suffered a heart attack. But her daughter still desperately wanted to compete in the competition—could Hannah pick her up and take her? Without a second thought, Hannah drove out to Concord to pick up the girl so she could participate. The Amethyst cheer team has plans to continue once Hannah goes off to college, so there should be plenty of opportunities for her to come back and visit her girls. If you know someone who might be interested in being part of the squad, you can e-mail Hannah at

Amethyst team member, Maggie Scurlock, high fives her coaches. Photo courtesy of Pat Petty


“It made me realize that it’s not just the kids who are benefiting from this— it’s the whole family.”

Angel in the Outfield David Riley ’16 honors a special friend and raises awareness about childhood cancer. By: Erin Kidd, The Independent Tribune This article was published in the Independent Tribune on March 17, 2016. It is adapted and used with permission from the publication. David Riley met Angel Thompson about five years ago and they developed a special friendship. She began attending most of Riley’s football and baseball games and when it came time for him to do a senior project, she was his inspiration. “I knew immediately that I wanted to do a project to help her,” Riley said. Now 11-years-old and a sixth-grade student at Concord Middle School, Thompson was diagnosed with childhood brain cancer at age five. But Riley, a senior at Cannon School, said she continues to be positive and defy the odds. “Angel has been an inspiration since I met her,” Riley said. “I wanted to combine my love of baseball and the cause of childhood cancer to raise money for children like Angel who are diagnosed with cancer at such a young age.” This is where the idea for his Angel in the Outfield Walk-A-Thon originated. “I knew I wanted to do the project with her and it just worked out that her name is Angel,” Riley said. “I love that movie and I love baseball, so it was right down my alley.” “I had the idea for the monument to be a memorial for childhood cancer but I thought I needed to do a little more,” Riley said. “So I thought why not do a walk-a-thon like Relay for Life.” “Despite childhood cancer being the number one cause of death in children under the age of 15 in the U.S., I’ve learned through this project that childhood cancer research is severely and consistently underfunded,” Riley said. “I want to be able to raise funds that go directly to childhood cancer research at Levine for those children suffering.” The walk-a-thon fundraiser at Cannon School raised more than $5,000. David installed a monument on the baseball field honoring Angel and donated $3,800 to the Levine Children’s Hospital as part of his Senior Capstone Project. “This was the most rewarding, humbling experience and one of the hardest things I’ve ever worked on,” he said. “Thank you to everyone for the outpouring of support, donations, kind words, and generosity during the process.”


Fifth graders working in the school gardens

Dr. Pavel Cenkl, author of This Vast Book of Nature

Composting in the Dining Hall

Feeding Our Natural Curiosity The entire Cannon community partners to replenish, protect, and understand our environment. By: Marcia Brashear, Director of Enrichment Programs and Chair of Sustainability Committee At Cannon School, we believe sustainable solutions inherently express our core values: courage, teamwork, respect, integrity, passion, and kindness. In 2015-2016, the Sustainability Committee, comprised of faculty and staff members from across divisions and disciplines, focused on a several key projects: composting, school gardens, pollinator gardens, and hosting a nationally recognized speaker. Composting in the Dining Hall Beginning in January, Cannon School partnered with Earth Farms Organics to compost the food waste from the dining hall and student lunches. Students were charged with sorting their waste into recycling, composting, or landfill bins. Kitchen waste was also placed in the compost bins collected by Earth Farms Organics and taken to 26 | SUMMER 2016 | CANNON MAGAZINE

their facility outside of Charlotte, where waste is turned into compost to be sold to replenish soil in yards, on farms, and in gardens across the area. Mr. Jeremy Mattsson, Fifth-Grade Science Teacher, was the lead for this significant project. Mr. Mattsson commented, â&#x20AC;&#x153;In fifth-grade science classes, students are learning about the intricacies of soil and the necessity to conserve and protect this limited resource. Composting is a way for students to see the benefits of returning their organic material back into the system from where it came. Our composting partner, Earth Farms, will return some of Cannonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s food waste as compost after it has been cured through their processes. By separating cafeteria waste materials into landfill, recycling, and compost, the school has already witnessed a reduction in the amount of material heading to our local landfill.â&#x20AC;?

The school gardens also offer an opportunity for service projects for Upper School students. A rising senior has already indicated an interest in expanding the school gardens for her Senior Capstone Project. Pollinator Project Another significant project of the Sustainability Committee is increasing the amount of plants around campus that attract pollinators. Pollinators like butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds are a vital part of the fertilization process. In fact, one out of every three bites of food we eat is made possible by a pollinator, and 80 percent of all flowering plants rely on pollinators for survival. Mr. Jeremy Mattsson and fifth graders planting milkweed for the pollinator project

“The Extended Day Garden is providing a developmentally appropriate activity that feeds our students’ natural curiosity, promotes environmental stewardship, and allows opportunities for practicing social skills.” In fact, Cannon School is diverting close to 2,000 pounds of waste each month from the landfill. Our school community is excited that the composting project will continue next school year with Cannon’s new dining hall partner, Flik. School Gardens Cannon School now has three raised garden beds thanks to Izzy Sofio ’16 and Cassidy Goff ’16, with help from our Facilities staff. Located near the eighth-grade Outback building, the gardens allow Lower and Middle School students to witness food production from seed to table. Lower School students involved in the Extended Day Program have been taking care of one of the raised beds, while fifth-grade science students have planted a variety of seeds in the other two beds. Director of Extended Day and After School Programs Mrs. Lyne Goode commented, “The Extended Day Garden is providing a developmentally appropriate activity that feeds our students’ natural curiosity, promotes environmental stewardship, and allows opportunities for practicing social skills. The children have worked hard for several months preparing, planting, and sustaining their vegetables. Then, this garden became center stage for Camp Cannon’s From Seed to Table camp.” “The most astonishing thing for me has been the students’ amazement at the size of seeds that will take shape into tomato plants, radishes, kale, onions, and eggplants. School gardens provide an opportunity for students to learn where their food is coming from and appreciate the efforts it takes to get it to their plate,” remarked Mr. Mattsson.

Look for more butterflies on campus in two key areas. Fifth-grade science classes planted milkweed plants that they germinated from seeds in the Rush Zone. “This project offered the opportunity to teach our students about the important role that pollinators play in our environment while providing a practical, hands-on approach to helping create a habitat that would attract pollinators—particularly monarch butterflies—to Cannon’s campus,” commented Mr. Mattsson. Additionally, with the help of Mrs. Lynda Abel in the Office of Advancement, Cannon won a grant of thirty-two milkweed plants through Monarch Watch. Upper School AP Environmental Science Teacher Mrs. Kenan Mattsson and her APES students planted the milkweed plants in the natural “no mow” area close to the Upper School. Mrs. Mattsson stated, “Female monarch butterflies lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed plants—as the loss of milkweed habitat increases primarily due to pesticide use, the population of monarchs is spiraling downward. By implementing the pollinator project, Cannon is aiding in population restoration.” The pollinator project will continue at least through the next school year, expanding to include science classes who can help germinate the milkweed plants. It is Cannon’s goal to have three different types of milkweed growing around campus so the campus can be certified as a Monarch Butterfly Habitat. There is a rising senior who intends to expand the pollinator project with more plants, butterfly houses, and even a caterpillar nursery. Nationally Recognized Speaker Dr. Pavel Cenkl, a professor of environmental humanities at Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, Vermont, and author of This Vast Book of Nature, spoke to Cannon’s Middle and Upper School students about his Climate Run, a 150-mile run across Iceland. Dr. Cenkl stated, “My goal with my Climate Run talks is to bring attention to the relationship of outdoor enthusiasts with the changing climate, encouraging our community to serve as role models and as stewards of the planet. I chose Iceland because the Arctic is among the places on Earth where climate change is most apparent and pronounced.” Dr. Cenkl also spoke in the evening to the public as a way to bring attention to the focus on sustainability at Cannon School. Mr. Bill Diskin, Director of Admission and Financial Aid, commented, “We feel current and prospective parents are interested in what Cannon as a school through its students, teachers, and staff is doing to create a community that cares about environmental stewardship.”


From l-r: Mr. Danny Wyke, Director of Transportation, Mrs. Donna Henrie, and Mrs. Gail Camp, Bus Drivers

Our Driving Force Cannon’s Transportation staff approaches everyday adventures with care and kindness. Twenty buses. Thirteen daily routes. Transportation to and from countless afterschool activities, sporting events, and field trips. It sounds onerous to manage, doesn’t it? Not if you’re Mr. Danny Wyke, Cannon’s Director of Transportation. “It’s all just a big juggling act, and something I have to keep on top of every day,” explained Mr. Wyke. “My favorite part of the job is the daily challenge as far as keeping track of who goes where, fixing a mechanical problem, or finding another driver to fill in for one who’s sick. I’m a mover and changer,” he laughed. But when we asked Mr. Wyke what makes him the most proud about his job, he talked about Cannon’s students and his drivers. “We go a long way as far as our territory— from Salisbury to Mooresville, to the Davidson area, to Concord and close to Mt. Pleasant, and to Charlotte. We carry about 540 students every morning and afternoon. So it’s challenging, but we’re proud we can help the kids come here to Cannon.” “And we have exceptional drivers,” he continued. “All the drivers are special because they handle a lot of parts that come into play. It’s not just the driving part. It’s working with different personalities, our parents’ wishes, and our students’ wishes.” When asked for examples, Mr. Wyke shared, “Gail Camp is a top-notch driver. She’s got a good driving record, and she’s very 28 | SUMMER 2016 | CANNON MAGAZINE

personable with her kids. A lot of times, her kids don’t even want to get off her bus. They want to stay and socialize with her.”

“Our kids are like ours, and we treat them as we would want someone to treat ours.” “Or Donna Henrie,” he continued. “She goes out of her way for the kids, even after the bus. She goes to their games, and she celebrates their birthdays on the bus, and the kids look forward to that. And she decorates her bus at Halloween, Christmas, and different seasons.” And when we talked with Mrs. Camp and Mrs. Henrie, we simply tried to keep up with the quick wit, love, and laughter they bring to their jobs every day. “Our kids are like ours, and we treat them as we would want someone to treat ours,” said Mrs. Camp. Mrs. Henrie agreed, “I treat them just like my own grandchildren. I’m very disciplined with them, but I spoil them rotten.”

“And their parents are wonderful,” said Mrs. Camp. “Our kids are all very polite, and I praise them all the time because they need to hear it. We establish relationships with the children and their parents, and that makes a big difference when they know you care about them. We don’t let them get away with things they’re not supposed to be doing on the bus, and they know when we mean business—but we have fun.” And with these two, there is no shortage of fun. “I always say good morning to everyone,” said Mrs. Camp. “Oh, everybody!” said Mrs. Henrie. “On our bus, if there’s not much going on that day, we sing.” “We sing every day!” laughed Mrs. Camp. “We learn everybody’s personalities, so we know how they like to interact. And I’m a hugger,” laughed Mrs. Henrie. “I am too,” said Mrs. Camp. “I try not to if they’re shy, but every now and then I need to get a hug!” “Like this morning, I had five of the kids give me hugs when they got on the bus,” shared Mrs. Henrie. “And I don’t know, it’s just nice to start the day off with a hug. Because you never know what’s going on that day.”

Welcome, New Families! The Cannon School community is eager to welcome you, get to know you, and start this new chapter in your family’s educational journey with you.

Thank You, Corporate Partners! Many thanks to our 2015-2016 Corporate Partners. It is not too late to get involved for the 20162017 school year. E-mail Amy Reiss at for more information.

Gold Partners

Randy Marion Automotive Tino Tile & Marble Company, Inc. Toyota of North Charlotte VL Concrete

Silver Partners New Family Fun Facts Cannon School will welcome more than 150 new students for the start of the 20162017 school year. Thirty-five new students are joining siblings who are already here at Cannon. Our new families come from nearby— Asheville, Concord, Cornelius, Davidson, Charlotte, Harrisburg, Huntersville, Kannapolis, Salisbury, and Mooresville. And they come from far away—New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Brazil, Belgium, Germany, and China. We even have new students who are named Cannon. Countless Ways to Connect Visit our New Family Resources webpage by going to and clicking on the New Family Resources button. Cannon’s Parent Ambassador Network has a New Family Connections Committee who is ready to support you during your transition to our school community. Our team of parent volunteers from Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School is listed on the New Family Resources webpage along

with their contact information. Feel free to contact them with questions big and small. The New Family Connections Committee is busy planning a robust schedule of opportunities for new parents to meet other new parents as well as returning parents. Events will range from cookies and lemonade at New Student Orientation, to morning coffees, to a fall walk on the cross country trail, to Homecoming and arts events. Attending these gatherings is a great way to build your Cannon friendships!

Branchview Dental Care Carolinas HealthCare System Lake Norman Oral and Facial Surgery Novant Health Orthopedics & Sports Medicine OrthoCarolina SunTrust Banking

Bronze Partners

Artisan Signs and Graphics AS Management Group Burchfield Insurance Group Concord Children’s Clinic DAVCO Roofing and Sheet Metal Dressler’s Restaurant Emby Taylor Photography F & M Bank Fortiline Waterworks Hendrick Auto Mall Concord Lake Norman Oncology Morrison Law Agency The Morrison Agency Mooresville Eye Care Piedmont Properties Punchy Whitaker Wheel & Tire Pros Turner Orthodontics University Eye Associates Ward Tank and Heat Exchanger


Alumni Spotlight Meredith Frazier ’09

Meredith graduated summa cum laude from Elon University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and minors in neuroscience, psychology, and Spanish. She entered graduate school at Vanderbilt in 2013 and joined Dr. Lauren Jackson’s lab. Upon passing her qualifying exam in 2015, Meredith became a Ph.D. candidate in biological sciences. Her pioneering work on vesicular trafficking, in collaboration with colleagues at Vanderbilt and Cambridge, was recently published in Traffic, a monthly scientific journal with a focus on intracellular transport. The article is titled, “Molecular Basis for the Interaction Between AP4 β4 and its Accessory Protein, Tepsin.” Can you describe your current research and where you hope it will lead? Right, so cells are composed of all these different compartments (the various organelles), and each compartment has a certain specialty—a certain job to carry out. These different tasks need to happen in a coordinated manner for the cell to function correctly, and this depends on the “things” in our cells—my focus is on proteins—being in the correct location at the correct time. The overarching goal of our lab is to understand how proteins get to the right position by studying the mechanism responsible for carrying them from place to place within the cell. This mechanism is vesicular trafficking: proteins that need to be moved from one point to another are recognized and packaged into little spheres, or vesicles, that then go to another part of the cell. I’m trying to better understand how certain proteins are identified and packaged into specific vesicles. We hope that better basic knowledge of how intracellular trafficking works will lead to a better understanding and perhaps more effective treatment of a variety of diseases. More and more research has highlighted dysfunctional intracellular trafficking as a characteristic of neurological disorders, from hereditary spastic paraplegias to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. When did you first become interested in science? What drew you to your work? I’m nerdy because I love learning, so that’s definitely a reason I’ve been in school for almost twenty years. Science has always been the most challenging subject for me, and I love a good challenge. As I learned more and more about science, the field of biochemistry fascinated me. Studying the tiny details of cellular functions—how two proteins interact for example—and determining how they play a role in normal versus disease state is very cool and rewarding to me. What are your hobbies when you are not in the lab? I’m a huge baseball fan—I love going to Vanderbilt or Nashville Sounds games. I also love music, so it’s great I’m in Nashville. There’s 30 | SUMMER 2016 | CANNON MAGAZINE

Meredith Frazier ’09

a huge music scene, and it’s fun to discover new acts. Also, big artists will sometimes play surprise free shows! My favorite has been a free Miranda Lambert show at one of my favorite venues. What advice would you give current Cannon students considering careers in science? Science covers such a broad range of opportunities, so I would recommend learning about and getting exposure to different science careers. You may think you’re dead set on being a doctor but find out that something like biomedical engineering or medicinal chemistry is much more interesting. Research labs at universities are often open to hosting high school students in the summer. There may be an established program, or you might be able to contact a lab directly and ask about opportunities to shadow a researcher or carry out a small project. In college, I would recommend getting involved in your department as early as possible, especially if you’re interested in a research based career. I was able to start doing research second semester of my freshman year. Research isn’t for everyone, so you’ll want to find out early if you like it or would rather focus your energy elsewhere. Science policy, communication, and education are other rewarding opportunities, to name a few. Do you have a favorite Cannon memory? Is there a Cannon faculty member who influenced you? I feel that my Cannon education not only prepared me very well for college, but it also taught me to be a flexible thinker. A large part of research is failure followed by troubleshooting, and flexible thinking is a very helpful skill to have. Many of my science teachers had lasting influences on me, but I’ll share one impact here. In Mr. Booker’s AP Biology class, he would periodically pause during lectures and call on students, asking questions about any material we had covered. This required me to constantly think about what I was learning and draw connections to the material I had already learned. He taught me to critically think about information, put it into context, and then see what larger patterns emerge.

Jessica Peterson ’03

2004 Eddie Alcorn married Sarah van der Horst on May 28, 2016 in Chapel Hill, NC. They live in Chapel Hill where Eddie works in strategic planning at UNC Health Care, helps with coaching the UNC Club Ultimate Frisbee team, and works with a local community center on the weekends. Kristi Shullaw is enjoying a new chapter in her life near the beach in Corpus Christi, TX. Her daughter, Zoe, will be 3 in August! Kristi is employed as a Family Based Safety Services Specialist with Child Protective Services at the Texas Department Kristi Shullaw ’04 and family of Family and Protective Services. She also enjoys operating her health and wellness business with It Works in her spare time!

2008 Denny Alcorn spent seven months volunteering with Mercy Ships in Madagascar and traveling in South Africa. He mostly worked in health IT while on the ship, but he also completed a research project on anesthesia in the ship’s operating rooms. He’s been living in Chapel Hill for the last two months and is taking a biomedical engineering summer class at UNC.

2009 Allison Jarrett, DDS, graduated Denny Alcorn ’08 and his partner, Wanita, in the middle of a 52-mile trek through the Grand Canyon. Notice the Cannon Alumni hat!

Allison Jarrett ’08 graduating from West Virginia University School of Dentistry

Jess Ekstrom, founder of Headbands of Hope and author of The Freshman Fabulous: The Girl’s Guide to College, is now sharing her tips on how to start your own business through the Brit + Co online course, Be Your Own Boss.

2011 After a yearlong public and media relations internship with the Charlotte Checkers, Joan Palumbo has been offered a fulltime job starting this August.

2012 Rebekah Harmon competed as a Wolfpack cheerleader for her last time and graduated magna cum laude in animal science with a minor in agricultural business management. She is following her heart and continued passion for the Pack by going on staff full-time for two years with Summit Church as the College Counselor for NC State. For the past year, Chris Pope has focused on playing and producing music. He engineered and produced an album for a band named Rainbow Kitten Surprise. The album did really well on Spotify with some songs breaking a million plays. Chris has also produced over a dozen albums through RFG Studios at Appalachian and through his own independent studio setup. He is currently working on three albums, one of them for Cameron Cook ’11, who did the artwork for Unaka Prong’s (Chris’s band) debut album, Margot! Vanessa Vaccaro graduated with a degree in communication studies and English from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in May 2016. She was recognized by the Communication Studies honor society, Lambda Pi Eta, and also graduated with the cum laude honors distinction. During her time at UNCW, she served as both Risk Management Chairman Vanessa Vaccaro ’12 and President of her sorority, Delta Zeta. She also interned at Kickstand Events, where she helped with the coordination and set up of weddings all over the Wilmington area. In the fall, Vanessa will be attending Clemson University to attain her master’s.

>Class Notes



Romance author Jessica Peterson has a new Study Abroad series out. It follows the adventures of American college students as they find themselves—and fall in love—while studying in Spain.

from West Virginia University School of Dentistry on May 14, 2016. She will be going to Hartford, CT, for a one-year GPR (General Practice Residency) fellowship.

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >



Austin Larkin ’13

Austin Larkin is currently acting with Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre as a part of their Tenth Anniversary Season. He is playing Baby John in West Side Story and Sebastian in Twelfth Night, which will tour the state of Arkansas throughout the summer. He will return to Elon University in the fall to complete his B.F.A. in Acting.

Dana Norton, a rising senior studying marine biology at College of Charleston, is currently aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans on an impromptu voyage across the Pacific from Tahiti to Hawaii, having started her voyage with a SEA Semester in New Zealand. She and her shipmates are studying the endangered coral reefs near the equator as well as meeting with local environmental government officials aboard their floating home. Michael Pope is currently interning at Dana Norton ’13 (left) snorkeling with MANN+HUMMEL, classmates working on the Advanced Development team on the implementation of smart technologies and electronics design. He is also managing a chemical engineering lab at NCSU focused on the design and manipulation of nano-particle catalysts for use in industrial chemical synthesis. Their research is aimed at studying the formation of chemical deposits on and in transition metal catalysts and how these deposits may be utilized to influence catalytic activity.

Joanna Copio ’15 in zoology class

Joanna Copio spent the first part of the summer working at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Turtle Rescue facility. She then joined the NCSU Animal Science Department as a VetCAMP Counselor, working with high school students who are considering a career path in veterinary medicine. During breaks, Joanna works part-time at Lakecross Veterinary Hospital located in Huntersville, NC. This fall, Joanna returns to the NCSU Honors College as an Honors Fellow, as well as a Teacher Assistant within the Animal Anatomy and Physiology Department.

Logan Foster is working full-time this summer in Tennessee at Dollywood. He is a featured performer in the Lite the Night show as well as doing guest interactions dressed as a 1950’s greaser. Trip Goff is spending time in California’s Bay Area this summer as part of the Duke in Silicon Valley program, where students learn about entrepreneurism through taking a course modeled on a Harvard Business Logan Foster ’15 (right) and School class and visiting companies his castmate in their greaser like LinkedIn, Apple, Google, and costumes at Dollywood Facebook. Earlier this year, Trip went to China for a week as part of a club where he helped with the orientation at Duke’s China campus in Kunshan and got to see awesome places like Shanghai and Suzhou.

This May, Barclay Sparrow was the Stage Manager for the Leah Glenn Dance Theatre concert at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in Washington, DC. For summer 2016, she will be acting as Assistant Stage Manager for the Virginia Shakespeare festival in Williamsburg, VA.

2014 Reed Harmon completed her sophomore year at NC State in graphic design and was selected to finish college as an Ambassador for the College of Design. She has spent the summer on a mission experience with City Project through Summit Church.

Trip Goff ’15 at Pudong, Shanghai’s financial district


Jessica Abel ’15 in Rome

Jessica Abel is an Admissions Ambassador at UNC Chapel Hill. She spent five weeks in Rome studying Renaissance art and literature with Honors Carolina this summer. She is one of only twenty people accepted to the program and was so excited to live in an Italian apartment and study with UNC’s incredible professors.


Will Gordon ’15

Will Gordon had a great first year at Vanderbilt. He feels lucky to be at a place where he has coaches and teammates who care about him as a person before an athlete and challenge him every day to get better. His golf team got to travel to some really cool places and won a schoolrecord four tournaments. They made it to the final eight teams at the NCAA Championship. Individually, Will earned All-SEC and Freshman All-American honors and got selected for this year’s USA team in the Arnold Palmer Cup, which will be held near Liverpool, England.

Freshman Feats Anna Redding ’15 grows as a student-athlete and global citizen in her first year at UVA. Few topics garner more tips, lists, and articles than how to survive and thrive during your first year of college. We think Anna Redding ’15 has it figured out—work hard and grow as a student, an athlete, and a global citizen. As a member of the women’s golf team at University of Virginia, Anna competed at the ACC Women’s Golf Championship and the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship. Her team ended the season with a team ranking of fourteenth in the country, and Anna was ranked 158 in the country according to Golfweek. When asked about the highlights from her first year, she shared, “UVA really brought it this year as we took home the ACC team title for the second year in a row. I placed fifth at ACC’s this year, and it was my highest finish of my first year! At ACC’s, I shot my lowest score of the season, 69, which was a massive highlight as well.” But Anna takes the “student” in “student-athlete” just as seriously. In June, Anna was one of only twenty-eight women named to the 2016 All-ACC Academic Women’s Golf Team. Anna elaborated, “What it came down to for me was setting a schedule and an order that I would follow for each subject, and I switched up where I would do my work. You have to be dedicated to putting in the hours both academically and on the course.”

Anna Redding ’15 on the UVA women’s golf team

But perhaps the accomplishment closest to Anna’s heart was visiting Kenya to see the culmination of her Senior Capstone Project that she began at Cannon. The concept for Anna’s project started with her father, Dr. Mark

Anna Redding ’15 at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya

Redding, who has traveled to Kenya numerous times as a visiting physician at Tenwek Hospital. After learning that the hospital needed a neo-natal incubator, Anna wanted to help too. In her senior year, she solicited sponsors to donate money for each birdie she made during competition. Anna raised $22,000, which was enough to buy the incubator. This January, Anna visited the hospital and is shown here holding Kipkoech Bett—the first baby who used and thrived because of the incubator. Anna said, “My Capstone Project has been incredibly important to me, and it was an amazing experience to be able to go over to Kenya and physically be of service to Tenwek Hospital.”










Upcoming Reunions The Classes of 2006 and 2011 will celebrate Reunions in December 2016. The Class of 2006 can contact Kaitlyn Abromitis ’06 for details at kaitlyn_ The Class of 2011 can contact the Alumni Relations Office for details at


1. Chapel Hill Alumni Flashback in April. From l-r: Denny Alcorn ’08, Bailey Middleton ’15, Jessica Abel ’15, and Juliana Sirois ’14 (event host). 2. Washington DC Alumni Flashback in April. From l-r: Jessie Robbins ’08 (event host), Virginia Goode ’08, Curt Black ’09, and Nickkole Daniels ’10. 3. Class of 2005 Reunion in December. From l-r: Jonathan Andrade, Seth Bullard, Jesse Kimmel, James Pressly, Ashley Oke, Jacquelyn Brannock, Shelby Regnery, Matt Peterson, Morgan Cruz, and Alex Cruz. 4. Atlanta Alumni Flashback in April. From l-r: Patrick Joseph ’07, Kelsey Willoughby ’08 (event host), Seve Gaskin ’10, and Kevin Leach ’10. 5. Alumni vs. Varsity Lacrosse in May. Alumni and varsity players with their coaches. 6. Class of 2010 Reunion in December. Front row, from l-r: Meredith Reynolds, Jeremy Miller, Rosemary Sirois, Lauren Hunstad, Jenna Sarett, and Ashley Rivenbark. Second row, from l-r: David Waymer, Menaka Wilhelm, Katie Armstrong, Meredith Hoover, Seve Gaskin, Heidi Gruber, and Rianna Das. Back row, from l-r: Kevin Leach, Alexander Poutous, Sean Zakar, Lyndsay Cooper, Kimpton Langford, Maddie Anderson, Kevin Jaszewski, Maddie Colcord, Patrick Beck, Matt Sarett, Zach Rossitch, Cara Brock, and Sterling Swygert. 7. Alumni Jazz Café in December. From l-r: Thomas Goode ’13, Alexander Poutous ’10, Brett Morton ’13, Michael Pope ’13, Director of Jazz Mr. Brad Davis, Cameron Cook ’11, Dominick Vaccaro ’13, and Jesse Ojanen ’14 8. Charlotte Alumni Flashback in in April. Front row from l-r: Meredith Reynolds ’10, Isabelle Powell ’08, Deion Smith-White ’08, Kent Robinson ’08, and Kaitlyn Abromitis ’06. Back row from l-r: Maddie Colcord ’10, Kyle Grissom ’08, and Reid Baker ’08. CANNON MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2016 | 35


5801 Poplar Tent Road Concord, NC 28027

CANNON Thanks to You – We Did It!

Many thanks to our current families, grandparents, alumni, alumni parents, and friends for your generous support of the Cannon Fund! Because of you, we exceeded our goals for the 2015-2016 school year—raising $602,964 and reaching 82% current parent participation. Your gifts touch every student and faculty member here at Cannon School and afford critical operating support that is not covered by tuition alone. Here are a few recent examples provided by your support: •  New iPads and lab equipment for the Upper School Science Department •  New bass and concert marimba for the band •  Expanded reading resources for the Lower School Reading Specialist •  Additional security cameras •  Refinished gym floors

As the Cannon Fund Co-Chairs, we thank you!

Cannon Fund Co-Chairs, Hans and Siobhan Peterson and Anne and Holt Morrison

Profile for Cannon School

Cannon Magazine - Summer 2016  

Cannon Magazine - Summer 2016